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#MeToo Floods Social Media With Stories of Harassment and Assault

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The actress Alyssa Milano urged people to acknowledge on social media if they had experienced sexual harassment or assault.

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Randy Shropshire/Getty Images

Women are posting messages on social media to show how commonplace sexual assault and harassment are, using the hashtag #MeToo to express that they, too, have been victims of such misconduct.

The messages bearing witness began appearing frequently on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram on Sunday, when the actress Alyssa Milano posted a screenshot on outlining the idea and writing “If you’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted write ‘me too’ as a reply to this tweet.”

Tens of thousands of people replied to the message. Some just wrote “me too,” while many others described their personal experiences of harassment or assault.

The author and poet Najwa Zebian wrote: “I was blamed for it. I was told not to talk about it. I was told that it wasn’t that bad. I was told to get over it.”

Other celebrities who took part include Anna Paquin, Debra Messing and Laura Dreyfuss.

Men also expressed their support. The comedian and activist Nick Jack Pappas wrote: “Men, Don’t say you have a mother, a sister, a daughter… Say you have a father, a brother, a son who can do better. We all can.”

Since The New York Times published an investigative report on Oct. 5 detailing decades of sexual harassment allegations against the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein, social media has provided a galvanizing platform for women to discuss their experiences. Last week, many people boycotted Twitter after the service temporarily suspended the account of Rose McGowan, an actress and a vocal critic of Mr. Weinstein’s treatment of women.

The #MeToo movement is not the first to use social media to highlight abuse against women. In 2014, a #YesAllWomen campaign drew notice on social media after a man cited his hatred of women as his reason for killing people in Southern California. The activist Laura Bates started the #EverydaySexism campaign in 2012 to document widespread sexism, harassment and assault.

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